Ask An Expert May 2017

Ask an Expert

Q: During a recent debrief of the LPI®, I was asked a series of legal questions related to how the respondent data is stored, who has access to it, how confidential it is, etc. One participant even asked specifically if there has ever been a case when an employee filed a law suit because their manager was found to not be a “good” boss. Do you have suggestions for how best to address these issues?

A: First off, for 30+ years my co-author Jim Kouzes and I have been researching leadership, creating the LPI assessment, and gathering and analyzing data from the over 5 million individuals around the world who have completed the assessment as part of their journey to exemplary leadership. In all that time, we have never heard of the LPI results being used as part of a lawsuit of any kind, anywhere in the world. Never. In this regard, it is important to remember that data from the LPI doesn’t intend to report that anyone is a “good” or a “bad” leader. Rather, the results indicate how frequently an individual engages in the 30 leadership behaviors that the LPI measures. In the case of the LPI® 360, the results also indicate the degree to which others—e.g., direct reports, managers, colleagues—see that individual demonstrating those behaviors.

As to the security and confidentiality of the LPI data itself, in every way possible the LPI is anonymous. Individualized data from the LPI, when completed online, is stored in such a way that it is inaccessible. In addition, the LPI Feedback Report does not identify data from Observers by name in the LPI 360, although the identity of the manager data can be deduced since a response from an individual person is typical in that category.

Be assured that any and all information submitted through the LPI is stored securely and held in complete confidence. While Jim and I—and dozens of other researchers and students—each year continue to study and analyze the collective responses of all those who complete the LPI assessment, the data provided by any specific individual is not available for analysis and is only used in combination with all other data collected.

Barry Posner, Ph.D., is the Accolti Endowed Professor of Leadership at the Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University, where he served as Dean for 12 years. Together with Jim Kouzes, he is author of over 30 books and workbooks on leadership and leadership development, including the just released fully-revised and updated sixth edition of the international bestseller, The Leadership Challenge, and Learning Leadership, selected by Strategy+Business as one of the 2016 Best Business Books of Year.


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